You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Access to pill boosts women's earning power, U-M study finds

By Cindy Heflin

Access to the pill has meant more to women than better family planning, a new University of Michigan study suggests. It has also boosted women’s earning power, MSNBC reports.

Researchers who analyzed data from a multi-decade study concluded that women who had access to birth control pills when they were in their late teens and early 20s made 8 percent more 20 years later than those who no access to oral contraceptives.

The National Bureau of Economic Research published the study as a working paper.

Read the article in



Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

I'm surprised that some find the subject controversial. I would like to hear why. It is true that it is a bit of a "Chicken vs. Egg" subject -- education leads to birth control, and birth control leads to education. In the Western World, where birth control, and at least some level of education, are both almost universal, that may be a bit hard to see. It has been dramatically obvious for a long time in Third World countries, though, where access to either one of those two can help break the cycle of overpopulation and poverty. Do serious people really question that?

Basic Bob

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

We have more birth control than our parents. When they retire, we will need to pay for their Social Security, Medicare, pension, and health care with fewer people. Fewer people paying the bills for more people makes us poorer. Birth control makes us poorer.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 9:43 a.m.

Yeah, and also makes their teeth whiter!

Chase Ingersoll

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Here is is The methodology of the variable this study is relying on is "early access" being those states which had "early access laws" as opposed to those that did not, which meant that the women had to wait until 21 to have access to the Pill. The first variable I would want to control for is the nature of jobs/economy in the states that had, vs. the states that did not have the early access laws. Interestingly the study found that access lowered the wages of women in their early 20's but then raised it in their 30s and 40s. What jumps out at me is the effect of migration patterns where women who wanted to go to college and/or access to the pill would go to college (in states that had more colleges) and not work while their counterparts entered the labor force. But then 10 and 20 years later the college educated exceeded the wages of the non college educated women, and the college educated women, migrated to where the white collar, service jobs were located, a presumption being that would have been states with early Pill Access Laws. Okay, let's give someone else a shot at this study. Chase Ingersoll

Chase Ingersoll

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery. I think it is wrong for you to report on such a controversial subject when the basis for the position claimed in your article is a link to a publication that is being sold for $5.00


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.

Ok - I am a huge proponent of birth control, but this conclusion seems like a huge, almost absurd generalization. Could you make an argument that the type of woman who pursued birth control as on option was the same type of person that wanted more control of their destiny, and was thus more likely to succeed as a rule?


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

Do you mean the 98% of woman that purse birth control?


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

It is easy to see that if women don't have unplanned children they are going to probably do better economically throughout their lives. However, by no stretch of the imagination should taxpayers be required to pay for birth control for these people! This is second only to BCBS having to cover unlimited Viagra for the UAW.